Using New Technologies to Enhance Health Communication Research Methodology
New technologies provide unique opportunities to design, execute, and evaluate studies that improve upon commonly accepted methodological standards for health communication research (Eng, 2002). For example, interactive computer technology can be used to conduct focus groups where people may feel at greater liberty to express controversial opinions about a topic, or to confess to participating in stigmatized health-related behaviors (Campbell et al, 2001). This additional information may prove critical to the development of an intervention aimed at changing health risk behaviors of a targeted population. Similarly, computer technology can assure the fi delity of an intervention by delivering precisely customized health messages to all members of a particular audience via tailoring, a task nearly impossible to do when using face-to-face (and most other) channels of communication.